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I think for these Twins Fest blogs, they will be written in an almost diary or journal form. I absolutely enjoy Twins Fest and it is always fun. I enjoy seeing players up close, listening to interviews, shaking hands and saying congratulations to minor leaguers and just being in the presence of thousands of Twins fans. As I have said before, if you are able to attend, even just for a few hours, it is worth it.
Tonight, I went with my whole family. My dad and 3 ½ year old daughter went in as the gates opened. The lines were huge and very unorganized. And it was cold outside! But eventually we got inside. My mom, brother and sister showed up a little later. But here is a quick run-down of the night.
- The first place we went was to the Photo area where Jozie and I got our picture taken with Jeff Manship and talked for a minute.
- From there, we went to Corner #7, which is the free line comprised of minor league players. The first was Eden Prairie native and former Gopher Cole Devries. Next in line was Canadian top outfield prospect Rene Tosoni. Then came Team USA hero and Twins shortstop prospect Trevor Plouffe. Next was Twins infield prospect Toby Gardenhire. Finally, Twins minor league pitcher of the year, David Bromberg signed a ball. My daughter went through the line with a baseball and asked each for their autograph. When she got to Plouffe, he said to her, “OK, I’ll sign your baseball if you write your name for me.” He gave her a pen and she “wrote her name” on the table in front of him. It was pretty cool. Bromberg said that the Diamond Awards went well last night, and that he was given his award first, so a little extra pressure.
- Then we saw that Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson were available for photos in the Photo area. Obviously Gibson has been on my podcasts five times, but it was very nice to finally get a chance to meet him in person. I had not met Hicks before, but he also appears to be a genuinely good guy.
- At that point, it was time to let my daughter get her picture taken with the one that she was most excited to get her picture taken with, TC Bear. While she played in the kids section, my dad, brother and I went to the KSTP radio area and listened to their interviews with Jim Thome and Joe Mauer. Both were excellent. Mauer wasn’t asked about the contract situation until the final question and he gave the same answer you would expect to hear. He basically said nothing.
- We grabbed something to eat. Interestingly, hot dogs were $3.50. 2 hot dogs were $3.50. So, when I went up and ordered four hot dogs (no, not just for me!), I had to specify that I wanted two two-for-one hot dogs, and not four single hot dogs. Seriously.
- We had a picture of us taken at the Target Field display area with a nice background.
- Then I stood in line for the third group of the minor league autograph section. The line was incredibly long. I must have been in line for 50 minutes, which is crazy! The lineup for this group was pretty impressive. First was Carlos Gutierrez, who was excellent on my podcast on Tuesday night and is one of the Twins better pitching prospects, a sure-fire future big leaguer. Then came Drew Butera was next. Both were very nice. Next was Chris Parmelee who took a big step forward with a very strong 2009 campaign in Ft Myers and more than held his own in the Arizona Fall League. Next up was Iowa native and another strong pitching prospect, BJ Hermsen. Last in line was Kyle Gibson, and he was the one that most that I overheard in line were excited to get to sign something.
At that point, it was time to head out for the evening. When you have a three-and-a-half year old, and it’s 8:30 and it’s been a long day, 8:30 is plenty late! I posted a couple of pictures on here, but if you would like to see more, you can see them on my Facebook page.
Although I haven’t figured out how to Tweet from my phone, you can also follow me in Twitter @sethtweets.
I will be back on Saturday night with more thoughts, from Day 2, of Twins Fest.
And, of course, you can still pre-order the SethSpeaks.net Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook by clicking here.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in the Comments section.